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Aug. 13, 2003

COLUMBIA, S.C. – With last year’s successful campaign something to build upon, the South Carolina women’s soccer team heads into the 2003 season eager to emerge among the top teams in the region and nation. Fresh off a 13-6-2 year and a bid to the SEC tournament, their first since 1999, this year, South Carolina will continue to strive toward becoming an elite team by playing a tough non-conference in 2003 schedule, to go along with its slate of SEC matches.

“It will be a test of our program,” said Head Coach Shelley Smith about the team’s schedule. “With a young team playing a difficult schedule, the pressure will be on to continue improving.” This year’s squad features senior defender Alison Jarrow, an All-SEC selection last season and the leader of a defense that only allowed 0.8 goals per match.

Alongside Jarrow is co-captain Melissa Hutson, a returning senior midfielder. Hutson played in 20 matches last season and scored two goals. She is a good ball winner with excellent field vision. The top returning leading scorer from last season is junior forward Ashley Williams. Williams was a presence off the bench for the Gamecocks, notching six goals, three of them game-winners.

Senior Elise Matthews has been a staple in net for South Carolina the past three seasons, and will continue to flourish this season. Matthews holds the school record for goals against average with a 0.78 mark. She has set this mark the past two seasons.

South Carolina boasts a youthful roster. This season, 15 sophomores and freshmen will suit up for the Gamecocks. The combination of youth and experience gives Carolina a good chance to make back-to-back appearances in the SEC tournament, a first since the 1998-1999 seasons.

“We had a taste of the post-season by making it back to the SEC Tournament,” stated Coach Smith. ” Our goals are to return to the SEC Tournament, earn more respect in and out of the region, and make the NCAA Tournament.”


Ashley Williams and sophomore Camille Toney look to lead the Gamecocks’ offensive attack this season. Williams is the top returning goal scorer off the 2002 squad and will be counted on to play an important role in the offense this year. In 2002, Williams netted six goals, three of them game-winners. Toney played in all 21 matches last year as a true freshman and is one of South Carolina’s quickest players who is dangerous around the 18-yard mark and possesses a powerful shot. She tallied four goals and one assist in 2002.

Sophomore Lindsay Haney gained experience last season and is a physical presence in the box. She looks to improve on her two goals she posted during her freshman season. Freshman M.A. Foster and Jessi Swaim are aggressive players that will add a spark to the offense up top.


Carolina boasts an experienced midfield with returning seniors Erica Bowie, Becca Epstein and Melissa Hutson. The trio has played in 155 matches for the Gamecocks over the past three seasons.

Bowie is a hardworker who will contribute at outside midfield and also play centrally. Bowie tallied two assists last season, both on game-winning goals. Epstein comes into her senior campaign ninth on the Gamecock all-time career scoring list. She possesses great one-on-one ability and will be an all-around key player this season. Melissa Hutson leads the team from the center of the field and will see time both in the midfield and the back this season. She was named the team’s offensive MVP in 2001. Junior Ashley Gosnell will be moving to midfield after spending the past two seasons as a forward. After a great spring showing, Gosnell is slated to fill in at outside midfield where All-Region selection Melinda Carter played last season.

Sophomores Amanda Thurber and Abby Markham lead a group of young midfielders, who are looking to make a splash for the Gamecocks this season. Thurber is the playmaker of the team from her midfield position. She recorded an assist in her first career collegiate match and was named Gamecock Freshman of the Year last season. Markham is a tough defensive player who has shown great improvement from 2002. She also saw action in 19 matches last season as a true freshman.

Freshmen Erin Geldhof, Shelly Hoddeson, Kirsten Seglem and Lauren Skinner all will be in the mix to see playing time. As high school teammates, Geldhof and Skinner led Troy High to the 2003 Michigan State Championship. Hoddeson is a versatile player that could see time at several positions and Seglem possesses good speed that will help out on the attack.


All-SEC selection Alison Jarrow returns as the team leader from her center back position. The senior from Downingtown, Pa. was named the Defensive MVP for the Gamecocks last season. Jarrow has good speed and is a hard defender to beat. She improved tremendously in 2002 and has the potential to do the same this season. Jarrow is looked at as the team leader on and off the field.

Junior Sarah Lentz will also bring experience to the defense this season from her right back postition. Lentz saw action in all 21 of the matches played last season and tallied two assists. She is a strong, aggressive player in the air who was named USC’s Co-Defensive MVP in 2001.

Sophomores Kimmy Criss, Jackie Welch and Stacey Zelek will add depth to the defensive unit. Zelek will return healthy in 2003 after being slowed the past two seasons by a knee injury. Welch looks to return after suffering an ACL injury early last season. Criss is a versatile player that saw time in 2002 in the back, midfield and up top.

Freshman Jenna Ball is an athletic defender who will look for playing time anywhere in the defense.


Senior Elise Matthews will be between the posts after back-to-back record breaking seasons. The past two seasons Matthews has limited the opponents to a 0.78 goals against average, breaking the previous school record. She also holds South Carolina records for career matches started and minutes played.

Matthews tallied four shutouts last year, to give her a total of eight for her career. She is a very athletic keeper to go along with her strong work ethic. Coach Smith believes Matthews can become one of the best goalkeepers in the region.

Freshman Lindsay Thorstenson comes into her first season with a big upside. “She is an excellent goalkeeper that has the potential to be one of the best in the college game,” stated Coach Smith.

The Roswell, Ga., native was a member of the three-time class AAAA state championship team at Roswell High.


The 2003 schedule for the Gamecocks features 20 matches, including nine at Stone Stadium. South Carolina will face a challenging schedule, including eight teams that advanced to last year’s NCAA Tournament. Those eight teams are: Clemson, Furman, Dartmouth, Texas A&M, Auburn, Tennessee, Kentucky and Ole Miss.

“Playing top caliber teams like Texas A&M and Dartmouth will give us the opportunity to measure ourselves against some of the best teams in their respective regions,” said Coach Smith. “Also, we will continue to play top teams in our region between the SEC schedule and matches against Clemson, N.C. State and Furman.”

South Carolina will open the season on the road versus in-state rival Clemson on Friday, August 29th. After three consecutive home matches against Furman, Charleston Southern and Dartmouth, the Gamecocks will travel to the Lone Star state for a match against Texas A&M in College Station. Carolina will then square off against the University of Houston on Sept. 14 in Houston.

USC will travel to Athens, Ga., to compete in the UGA/Nike Tournament against Georgia Southern and Liberty. South Carolina will than return home and play host to its first SEC opponent 2002 conference champion, Auburn.

South Carolina will close out the regular season with three matches on the road against Ole Miss, Mississippi State and at Florida.

The SEC tournament will be held in Orange Beach, Ala. Nov. 6-9.